Flywheel | March 13, 2022
Featuring the top 5 used vehicles of the week and exploring the concept of seller trust.
Welcome to Flywheel, a weekly exploration of the used side of owned micromobility. Each newsletter will highlight five of the most interesting used vehicles being sold in the market followed by an observation of trends emerging in the industry.
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This week’s featured vehicles are a folding cargo bike, a commuter, an iconic moped reimagined by Pininfarina, a mountain bike, and a performance road ebike. The observation of the week explores the concept of seller trust.
Top 5 Vehicles of the Week
The Tern GSD S10 is a longtail cargo bike known for being the most portable and maneuverable cargo bike available in the market. With a length of 180cm (the length of a typical pedal bike), a weight of ~60lbs, and folding handlebars, the S10 is actually small enough to be slotted into the backseat of a car while still having 400lbs in cargo capacity. It also features Bosch’s 85Nm cargo powertrain, which combines nicely with the vehicle’s extremely low center of gravity (due to the 400Wh battery being under the rack as opposed to the down tube) to make the ebike extremely agile on traffic-laden streets. This specific listing only has ~200 miles in usage. Listing can be found here.
The Marin San Rafael DSE is a dual sport class-1 ebike well suited for commuting and mixed surface riding. Known for its build quality, most of the San Rafael’s componentry comes from Shimao’s high-end mountain biking line. The powertrain features the ever reliable Shimano Steps E6000 motor and the 418Wh Shimano Steps battery pack. While the E6000 motor is widely used in the ebike market, it is a bit outdated and a bit louder, bulkier, and clunkier than competing powertrains such as the Bosch Active Line Plus and the updated Shimano E6100 city motor. This specific listing is sold by local bike shop Cardinal Bikes. While there is no mention of useage/mileage, the bike was recently tuned up by the bike shop and comes with a 60-day warranty and free servicing. Listing can be found here.
The e-Solex is a modern reinterpretation of the iconic 1940s VeloSoleX 3800 moped by Pininfarina, the fabled Italian car and coach designers that did work for the likes of Ferrari and Maserati. The front of the vehicle has a locked storage compartment and integrated headlight, and pays homage to the 3800’s unique front fuel tank. The powertrain consists of a 500W motor and a 592Wh battery. The e-Solex was sold exclusively in France for a brief period starting in 2004, so this listing is a rare find that will save you the trip across the pond. Listing can be found here.
The Magnum Peak is a class-3 electric mountain bike that has quickly found its way onto urban streets due to its affordability when compared to other class-3 ebikes. The powertrain on the Peak features a 500W hub motor from Das-Kit and a 768Wh battery pack. The Das-Kit motor isn’t all that competitive in terms of performance with other class-3 motors from Bosch, Shimano, or Bafang. However, the Peak’s price point being close to that of a class-1 ebike while having a class-3 powertrain that is much more heavy duty than a typical class-1 powertrain has made it a popular vehicle amongst couriers and delivery riders. This specific listing is being retired from Zoomo’s subscription fleet after 2,309 miles of usage. It passed a 30-point inspection by Zoomo technicians and comes with optional monthly maintenance plans. Listing can be found here.
Unlike the class-1 commuters/cruisers and lower-end class-3 ebikes that have dominated the mainstream US electric road bike market, the Road E+ is an “aggressive and sporty” class-3 ebike specifically designed for high performance road riding. The 250W Yamaha mid-drive motor has up to 20Nm more torque than competing products from the likes of Bosch and the 500Wh battery gives riders a much longer range than most typical road ebikes. This listing is a great example of a highly trustworthy, transparent, and well crafted posting by the seller. There are many close-up pictures highlighting different components and every single defect. The description is also extremely detailed, mentioning everything from where the vehicle was bought, when it was serviced, descriptions of different charge/use cycles, etc. This specific vehicle is being resold for the second time with a usage of ~4100 miles and was recently given a full service and tune up by a local bike shop. Listing can be found here.
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Observation of the Week
Seller trust in the peer-to-peer secondary market
Craigslist and other peer-to-peer used marketplaces have no shortage of scams, with many sellers over exaggerating vehicle health, misrepresenting component information, and even posting fake listings. Given that micromobility vehicles are extremely expensive and have many components who’s health can make or break the value of the entire vehicle (i.e. batteries), seller trust and transparency is critical.
What factors should buyers look for when buying a used micromobility vehicle on a peer-to-peer marketplace, and what information can sellers include to make a trustworthy listing? A few thoughts:
Vehicle Images: Including a sufficient number of pictures of the vehicle allows buyers to get a better understanding of the health and state of components, and can be a great indicator of seller transparency. Scam or inaccurate listings often have few to no pictures, and sometimes only list stock photos from the vehicle’s retail website as opposed to pictures of the actual, physical vehicle on sale. The fastest selling vehicles (selling in less than 4 days) typically list 5-9 pictures.
Serial Number: A vehicle’s serial number or proof of purchase (i.e. receipt) can be cross-referenced against registries like Bike Index or Bike Register to help confirm that the vehicle being sold wasn’t stolen. A more detailed receipt also allows buyers verify the age of the vehicle and identify the retailer/distributor for future maintenance. 12.17% of listings on Craigslist today list a serial number or receipt.
Description Length: Comprehensive vehicle descriptions make listings more transparent, and thereby make them more trustworthy. A well written description that gives details on specs, defects, charge cycles, reason of selling, etc. also can be a great indicator of how the vehicle was used and treated by the seller. The fastest selling vehicles (selling in less than 4 days) average a description length of 900 characters, 200 characters more than the slowest selling vehicles.
That’s it for this week. Thanks again for joining, see you next Sunday!
- Puneeth Meruva
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